SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

GPS Antenna Shrinks to Surface Mounting

Mar 14, 2003


Sarantel has developed a surface-mount version of its active GeoHelix miniature GPS antenna.

The GeoHelix-S, which offers a number of technical benefits over conventional patch antennas, can be mounted directly onto the GPS circuit board, thereby simplifying production and lowering costs.

It is ideal suited for portable and handheld GPS applications, including use in cellular handsets.

As with all of Sarantel's antennas, the GeoHelix offers a wider beamwidth than conventional patch antennas (3dB contour up to 120 degrees typical) meaning that more GPS satellites can be seen simultaneously, resulting in greater accuracy and positioning reliability.

The GeoHelix can also operate alongside other antennas without causing interference, a feature particularly important when incorporating a GPS capability into a mobile handset.

Furthermore, being a balanced antenna means that the weak signals from the satellites are not detuned when the handset is close to human tissue such as the hand or head.

The GeoHelix-S antenna, which operates on the GPS L1-band (1575.42MHz), measures only 48.5 x 14.6 x 13.0mm and uses Sarantel's patented design in which copper tracks, deposited onto a small ceramic cylinder, are individually and automatically laser trimmed for optimum frequency response.

The antennas incorporate a 24dBi low noise amplifier and draw only 12mA from a nominal 3V DC power supply.

They will be manufactured on Sarantel's fully automated assembly line in Wellingborough UK.

Recognising that other options are needed, Sarantel will supply this antenna in edge-mount and flex-mount formats as well.

The edge-mount versions will have a choice of SMA or MCX male connectors, and the flex-mount versions will have a 100mm cable terminated in a choice of MCX, MMCX, SMA, SSMT or Hirose H-FLmale connectors.

Barrie Foley, Sarantel's CEO, commented, "Our GeoHelix antennas are proving to be very successful in the rapidly expanding GPS marketplace which includes handhelds, cellular handsets, logistic support systems and personal tracking devices.

The GeoHelix-S surface mount device offers manufacturers the possibility of lower production costs and superior performance".

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